‘Take back our roads’: Mayor wants action on NSW Govt promise
A STATE Government election promise to take back 15,000km of council-owned roads has ruffled feathers in the region.
In February 2019, the NSW Government announced more than $1b towards helping NSW councils manage roads, repair NSW's worst bridges and reclaim up to 15,000km of regional roads.
While Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has been putting pressure on the government on when it would deliver on the promise and how, NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole has yet to provide a timeframe.
Kyogle Shire Mayor Danielle Mulholland said the issue was a "major and ongoing issue of concern for the LGA as the financial impacts on road maintenance on a smaller council like Kyogle was huge".
"For the benefit of the communities we serve, we strongly urge the NSW Government to act on this election promise as soon as possible, establish the panel and engage with local councils to identify their priority roads to hand back," Cr Mulholland said.
She said the council had been proactive in this area, identifying Kyogle, Mt Lindsay and Bentley roads, as well as the Clarence Way, as roads the state could assume financial responsibility for, while monitoring the condition of these roads for the State Government.
Kyogle council has 1070km of local roads with 286 bridges (137 timber) and 128km of regional roads with 25 bridges (three timber).
Cr Mulholland said the cost to maintain the regional road network was $1.24m per year after all state grants are taken into account.
"This equates to almost one-fifth of the funding required for the upkeep of the council's entire local road network," she said.
"This represents the single biggest cost-shifting expense imposed on the Kyogle LGA by other levels of government."
The 128km of regional roads within the Kyogle LGA currently make up 10 per cent of the overall council-maintained road network.
Council also maintains 115km of the Summerland Way and Bruxner Highway on behalf of the state through the Routine Maintenance Council Contract (RMCC) administered by Roads and Maritime Services.
"In order to ensure that there is minimal impact on council's locally employed workforce, council would like to see the existing RMCC contractual arrangements extended onto the regional roads once the transfer of ownership back to the state is complete," she said.
"From a budgetary perspective, this will take the liability for maintaining or upgrading these assets off our books and improve our long-term financial viability."